Led by conservative politicians and parents, a new wave of banned books has swept across America’s school districts, washing away the headlines.
Books dealing with LGBTQIA+ identities, racism, and historical atrocities have been challenged — most notably Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” which grapples with his parents’ Holocaust experience.
If implemented, these book bans would create an artificial silence around issues of racism and LGBTQIA+ identity.
The latter goes hand-in-hand with political moves like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prevents teachers from talking about LGBTQIA+ topics (such as gender identity or sexual orientation) to school children.
Hard truth on banning books
Here’s the hard truth: When a child is given an iPhone or iPad, like many American children, there is no way to protect them from any kind of cruelty. To see also : The best books to take you through Berlin, Germany.
Even with parental controls, when the world is placed in the palm of a child’s hand, you can’t filter out the unpleasant parts with complete accuracy.
If we remove these difficult topics from classrooms, we are not preventing our children from being exposed to them. we take space from them to discuss them with trusted adults and peers.
We are in danger of raising a generation of children who develop their views on racism, LGBTQIA+ people and atrocities on the internet, where outrage has social currency and lacks nuance.
Those hoping to ban books should also note that the practice may be counterintuitive. As humans, we have a burning curiosity to learn information that is forbidden to us – we are all the Bluebeard woman who wonders what is behind the door.
Ironically, sales of titles usually increase after they are banned. Why not join and try banned books?
“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.”
Below is a list of 7 titles that have been commonly challenged and the reasons why they were deemed inappropriate – and later where you can buy them.
“Maus” by Art Spiegelman
As previously mentioned, this graphic novel tells the story of the author’s parents’ experiences during the Holocaust, and although the commission cited profanity as the reason for the ban, it has sparked a national conversation about what topics are appropriate for children to learn.
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
“The Hate U Give” follows Starr and his encounter with racially motivated police brutality when his friend is killed during a traffic stop. See the article : Council Bluffs’ small library specializes in banned books.
The banning of the book was cited because of the testimony, but the conservative backlash against teaching children about the state of race relations in America suggests an alternative motive.
“All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
This self-proclaimed memoir manifesto details the upbringing of a queer black boy in New Jersey. Read also : Marcus Rashford Book Club will give away 50,000 books this summer. By telling the true story of his life, Johnson hopes to erase the distance that fiction can create between a story and its audience.
It is a frequent target of school boards, and opponents are concerned about the mention of masturbation and oral sex.
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s books are frequent targets of banning – probably because of her honest and uncompromising handling of difficult subjects. Specifically, Beloved addresses slavery, infanticide, racism, and sexual abuse. Critics of censorship worry that banning these books will sanitize America’s history of racism, but opponents say the content is too disturbing for children.
“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe
Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir chronicles struggles with binary gender roles, growing up, and coming to terms with her body. The banning of this book is part of an ongoing effort to censor gay literature and gay stories from children.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
This classic novel about the search for a scapegoat for an innocent black man in a small town is one of the most frequently banned works in schools across America. Like most truly great books, it makes the reader uncomfortable.
Many schools emphasize teaching it as an important example of how outsiders are treated, but some schools still refuse to teach the book because of its sexual content and racial slurs.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood’s most notable novel envisions a futuristic America in which the birth rate has plummeted and the remaining fertile women are kept as mares for wealthy men.
Although the story is fictional, Atwood constantly reminds her readers that everything in the story has happened to women at some point in history. The book is mostly banned because of its explicit sexual content.
Where you can buy these banned books
If you can find these banned titles at your local library, give them a try.
Independent booksellers in your community would also appreciate this business, but a Barnes and Noble store will work in a pinch. If you want to buy online, steer clear of Amazon and try Bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.